Our first home grown harvest

Filed in Blog by on May 21, 2009 24 Comments
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Little Miss Green's home grown radish

Little Miss Green's home grown radish

Many of you are growing your own crops this year. It’s a great way to reduce both food and packaging waste.

Mrs A gave us a stunning picture walk around her garden last week with her post ‘Creating an edible garden in a small suburban space‘. John has been digging and planting and Carole is flexing her green fingers too.

Here at Chez Green, Little miss Green has been growing her own crops this year – potatoes, mint, sweetcorn, peas, cress, and this week she harvested her first crop of one radish!

We captured the moment on video and I love seeing her face light up as she starts to talk about her first radish! Unfortunately, the slugs got into my greenhouse and have munched through some kale and sunflower seeds, but everything else seems to be unscathed.

What about you? How is your garden coming along this year? Ours is very slow; we need a bit of humid weather to encourage the seedlings to grow.


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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (24)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Growing your own is a fine passtime and eating the results of successes a particular pleasure. This applies to all ages with the young having the potential for a lifetime interest.

    After 2 weeks of mostly inside window placement, the kale has grown to 2.5″ at best, 1.5″ for least growth. Lettuce is slightly less developed with 2″ the best. Basil is slower, with 1″ yet to be reached. This last requires a warmer climate and looks like 4 weeks, and hot weather, will be required. These are all leaf based while LMG showed the value of root crops.

    After 3 weeks the kale and lettuce will be repotted. Planting outside will be later, with night coverage a consideration as well as slug removal.

    Progress is still fine with changes left for next week. I have plenty of pots as my mother was a great lover of indoor plants as well as occasional cut flowers. Cut flowers are my preference, with the pots now used for veg/herb growing.

  2. Deb from Boston says:

    This weekend – Memorial Day – is the standard time to plant here in Boston. I already have my root veggies, peas, lettuces and spinach cabbage and brocholli planted.. For the first year I’m trying to grow my own squashes and flowers from seeds w/ a heat mat and grow light – the squashes all sprouted, but are a bit leggy. This weekend I’ll buy potted tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and some herbs & from seed plant the various beans. We’ve also added 2 blueberry bushes and 3 grape vines to our small city yard.

  3. So far, I have some small radishes like little Miss Green’s, a handful of blue-podded peas, one carrot, a handful of strawberries and tomatoes (still green), some basil, cucumber, chocolate bell pepper and miniature eggplant seedlings, about 1″-2″ high, and one miniature bunch of grapes. The garden has a couple of months to go before it really gets going, but it’s off to a good start!

  4. Betsy- you have tomatoes already!! Mine don’t even have flowers yet! I agree, there is nothing like having fresh veggies from your garden. I have about 55 square feet planted this year (but if I ever get my own house, it’ll be the whole back yard!)

    Lovely photo of little miss green. She’ll charish that when she’s older and tells how her parents were the ones who got her started on the whole sustainability thing.

  5. How cute. Congratulations to LMG. I might plant a few in her honour. Glad you enjoyed our little garden tour Mrs G. Our Pak Choi is doing really well and is one othe tastiest salad leaves I’ve discovered in a long time.

  6. greenlady42 says:

    That’s so exciting ! Nothing quite like the pride of growing your own, no matter how small ! Now I am finally getting the yard garden sorted out, I am going to be planting some radishes too – I love them – can’t wait to taste my first home grown one.

  7. VegBoxClara says:

    Gorgeous!!! The future of our Earth will be in safe hands with more like her!

    So far, I am still waiting for the tomato to flower. The broad beans (x5) are making a puny attempt at flowering – no bean pods yet. The red cos lettuce are going great guns and having their leaves pinched on a regular basis… The one pak choi that escaped the slug attack is limping towards more leaves …

    Need to plant out some more seeds. Bank Holiday Monday and the kitchen windowsill beckon 🙂

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane:
    The lettuce is really needing some more heat, John. Ours is very slow outdoors, but we are eating it from the greenhouse already. It sounds like you have a lot planned and will be enjoying a fruitful harvest.

    @Deb from Boston: Hi Deb, I hope you enjoyed your memorial day. I planted three squash, for the first time ever, but only one has grown. All the sunflowers came up and are growing well. Blueberry bushes is something I’ve always wanted to try. Let me know how you get on with them and enjoy your weekend

    @Betsy Bargain: Hi Betsybargain; your planting sounds great! What is a chocolate bell pepper? Does it have a cocoa taste or is it just the name?

    @Jen from clean bin: Hi Jen, good to see you. It’s amazing how much growth in the garden can vary, even from garden to garden where we live. Our plants are always smaller than our neighbours, but then our harvest continues for longer. The clay soil seems to give seeds a hard time to get established.

    @Almostmrsaverage: We’ve never tried pak choi, although it might be in a salad leaf mix that mr G has growing in a trough. Your garden is looking lovely this year!

    @greenlady42: there is nothing like your own grown produce. It *is* so exciting pulling up the first crop of the season. Mr Green is busy munching his way through some chervil grown from seed too. Simple pleasures 🙂

    @VegBoxClara: have a good weekend, sowing more seeds, Clara. My broadbeans are trying hard, but I DO have flowers and the tiniest pod on one plant! Our red lettuce consists of three plants, each with two tiny leaves; they look a bit waterlogged and are sulking. Ho hum.

  9. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: Mrs Green, Today the first leaf buds in the kale plants are shooting between the 2 germination leaves. It is good to see them and replanting will definitely be this week. Basil plants are forming a bud at the tip with the initial leaves gone, in a few. I am not sure if this is the start of the main plant.

    Lettuce is an after thought with the plants curling and showing new small leaves. 2 indoor plants will be done only, as kale is my preferred greens.

    Dividing the plants will be tricky but expanding the space between with extra compost and a knife will help. They can then be removed for an individual pot/folded card for the next stage.

  10. No Mrs. Green, the Chocolate Bell Pepper does not have a cocoa taste. The name simply refers to the beautiful, rich brown color of the peppers. I got the seeds from Seed Savers, if you ever want to try them. Happy Growing!

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Thanks for the lovely walk around your seedling table, John. I feel as if I’ve had a personal visit. And i’m sure things have taken off again since you last wrote 🙂

    @Betsy Bargain: Hi Betsy; thanks for the answer. They sound amazing; I’ll have to check them out. Let us know if they are easy to grow!

  12. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: The growth has been best so far this third week, Mrs Green. Germination takes from 2-4 weeks then the plant takes shape. Kale buds have appeared in all the plants, some as long as the original stem. Lettuce is taking form with similar progress. Potting is this weeks task. I have 4 card insert shaped holders, with 4 kale plants for later raised bed placement. 3 indoor pots also with 1 for lettuce.

    Basil trails the others with the best about 1″ high, so far. This is the most important of the 3 types and will need most attention. Some plants have decayed. These were in soil from the garden but compost has been far more successful. These will be left for later replacing.

    As for future slug problems, tins holding beer buried level with the ground has been a good family tip from 2 sources.

    I am enjoying the process as well since future efforts will be better with the experiences this year.

  13. Carole says:

    I haven’t been around for a few days as we’ve been on half-term hols and as my other half has booked two weeks off, we’ve been away chilling out…BUT…
    the last two Sundays we’ve been car booting. I love car booting because it fulfils four things all in one. Firstly, it clears out my other half’s “stuff”, which makes room for me and my “stuff” when I move up there. Secondly, it makes us some cash. Thirdly it recycles, and you’d be amazed and what some people will buy! Fourthly, I’m quite a sociable creature, and love a good “chat” (gab) with lots of different people,so “booting” ticks all the boxes for me.

    Oh, and as this thread is on the subject of plants, I just have to say that my basil is going crazy in this heat, and my wonderful, wonderful neighbours have been keeping my outside tomato plants well watered while I’ve been away. The first and second trusses are flowering/just about to flower, and hopefully, if I remember to buy the tomato fertiliser, I (and the neighbours) will have some sweet cherry tomatoes in the not so distant future.


  14. Carole says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, re slug problems. If beer doesn’t work, try some red wine. My slugs used to love that stuff. What a way to go huh?

  15. Poppy says:


    Beer’s cheaper Carole 😉

  16. John Costigane says:

    @Carole: Cider is worth considering too, Carole. The idea is to try the various means to find the best performer. So far my plant growth has been indoor with placement outside in the hot sunshine. The Sweet Basil loves the sun, with even the poorest developed plant sprouting leaves. Germination has only just ended and the early leaf growth is very encouraging.

    What happened to the tinfoil collected at school? The weight of it must be great with so many young enthusiasts taking part. We should give the children a prize for their efforts, maybe a composter, Bokashi bin or Green cone. Any ideas, Carole?

  17. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: There must be significant growth again this week John, if your conditions up there have been anything like ours. basil loves compost and is quite a touchy plant if put in soil. I don’t bother with soil for it now. I’ve repotted into bigger pots and everything is taking off nicely. It’s just a game of catch up with the weeds; but growth on those should gradually slow down!

    @Carole: Hi Carole; so weird you should post as I was thinking about you today. Great to hear of your adventures with the carbooting and how well your garden is coming along. Our basil has taken off too and we have a few flowers on the tomatoes. Flowers on some potatoes too, which is great and a whole row of radishes have already been devoured!
    I’m glad you enjoyed your break, but it’s good to have you back 🙂

  18. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: The weather has been excellent with 8 days full sunshine. There are 5 or 6 best developed basil plants with 2 bulbous leaves and a central stalk just peeking over the leaves. The stalks are a hair’s width so far but are still a welcome sight. The peat-free compost is fine with development in every pot. The pots are put out in the suntrap backdoor for the whole day 9am-7pm. Watering, late morning, indoor seems to help. When I thinned the basil, the smell, from the lifted stems, was strong and characteristic of the herb

    Kale is developing fast with 3 leaves developing in each plant. After further growth, I plan to place the 4 in card cups on the raised bed as yet unused, with a few indoors.

    I started a new germination for lettuce,2, kale,2. and basil,4 sections of a plastic seed tray and plan to thin stems early to see if better growth occurs. The closer to full summer the stronger development should be.

    It has been a very enjoyable experience so far with little setback. The best thing is that future years’ attempts should be even better, weather permitting.

    Anna had a beautiful garden, it still is, and I found the secret of her success, Miracle-Gro plant food. With a pack ready provided, I intend to use it to compare growth treated/untreated. No wonder her rhubarb was always so immense though this came from the grand parents garden many years ago. There were also many flowers and shrubs from there.

  19. Poppy says:

    @John Costigane:

    My Mum had a huge rhubarb plant outside her back door. The given reason for it’s size was somewhat less savoury than Miracle-Gro though and more (supposedly) to do with my step-father’s friends who couldn’t be bothered to go upstairs to use the facilities!

    Sorry to lower the tone Mrs G 🙁

  20. Carole says:

    @Mrs Green: Hi Mrs G, congrats on your one year b’day of zero waste. It was my sister’s b’day too yesterday, so I’ll be able to remember it.

    As for my gardening, the garden at my fiance’s place is ok, a long sloping grassed area, with a drying line, a concrete path slightly to one side and flowering/evergreen shrubs around three sides. My fiance phoned me yesterday to say that his uncle had been over with some wood (railway sleeper types) to start on my raised veggie beds and they had actually got one frame in place!! I might get some outdoor veggies grown yet! My tomato plants here are in flower, so I’m going to have to make sure I’ve got the tomato fertiliser ready soon.


    We had halfterm down here last week, and this week just three days of school owing to us closing for training, whilst most of the kids attend the local royal agricultural show with their families. Cornwall is quite a farming county so many of our kids would just take the time off anyway even if we didn’t close.

    The foil comp is still underway and the kids are now quite keen to get them weighed. I’ve promised them that we will do it next week. I’ve only been in school one day this week (today) owing to training in another school on Monday and accompanying our year sixes on an educational visit to another one yesterday!

    Still, we are enjoying all this lovely weather and I can’t wait for Sat as we’re going up to the Cornwall Show ourselves and it should be a good day, despite the slightly damp forecast.

  21. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: John, you sound like a pro already – glad all is going well for you. With a massive downpour over the past 48 hours, some things are a little battered, although most plants have shot up in size 🙂

    @Poppy: 😀 we’ll let you off Poppy; it is one of nature’s finest fertilisers it would appear – great for activating the compost heap. Though I’ll pass on the rhubarb crumble thanks LOL!

    @Carole: how exciting about the raised beds. I hope you enjoyed the Cornwall show.

  22. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: The great outdoors can be harsh on plants so I have avoided planting out so far. I am glad growth has been helped for your garden, Mrs Green.

    I am certainly enjoying the new experiences of growing from seed but this is a learning process. There is still a long way to go for the Sweet Basil plants though progress is ongoing. The latest stage is the lifting of the plant leaves clear of the germination leaves, with 1 plant leading the race. When clear the leaves can then extend into their characteristic flat, pointed shape.

    The weather continues sunny and this could last all week! My family and neighbours will all get pots if the growth is good enough.

  23. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Your GREEN GUIDES Compost book arrived from Amazon today in Zero Waste Packaging, home compostable cardboard. As directed in the book, I will tear this into strips and add to the composter.

    The book is an excellent coverage of the subject, with many related items. Any newcomer to home composting will find this essential reading. This is a fine addition to my Zero Waste book collection and I intend to circulate it among family, friends and neighbours to encourage better home waste management.

  24. Mrs Green says:

    John, thank you so much for a wonderful review of my book. I’m very touched by your words 🙂 I hope your family and friends get something from the book too…

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